With the completion of my first year doing NaNoWriMo, and a few days to think, here are a few of my thoughts of this writerly party:
What Worked For Me
1. I wrote 50,000 words – a complete story within 30 Days!
2. The flu – When I wasn’t sleeping, or staring vaguely into space, I was writing. Normally, in that time, I would either be at work, doing household chores, or running errands. So, actually, having the flu twice technically gave me more time to write.
3. Daily Word Count – I learned my daily word count can be pretty high even when only using my commuting time.
4. Status bars – I like status bars. It’s like winning a prize on a video game. You might be seeing some more word count status bars appear around here.
5. The Commons on Flickr – Normally, I don’t use pictures as writing inspiration. However, for this story, I found some great pictures from The Commons that really brought the characters to life for me. When I was stuck, and sometimes, in my staring-off-in-space moments while sick, I checked out pictures, and found myself finding inspiration for the story. For example:
6. Creative-o-meter – I found it fun, and helpful for gauging myself. Also, it’s colorful.
7. The Story – I had a lot of fun writing the story itself. It is a lively mix of purposeful grandiosity, fairy tale magic, and late-Victorian-esque comedy. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, making the villain more villainous, and building the mysteries in the story. As I’ve mentioned before, part of the point of being a writer is to have fun.
What Didn’t Work For Me
1. The story’s ending – If I weren’t trying to cross that 50,000 mark within 30 days, I probably would have waited a few days to let the ending simmer and come up with something centered on the characters. Right now, it is a grab-bag mess of ‘hey, let’s throw in the kitchen sink too!’. It falls into the Sequel Conundrum.
(The Sequel Conundrum is a term I just made up, and I’m looking at you, Pirates of the Carribean 3).
In a sequel, everything needs to culminate in an even bigger finale, so what do we do? Instead of two clipper ships battling it out in a grand duel, lets have twenty ships… and a maelstorm… and a giant squid… and aliens… and… unicorns shooting lasers from their horns!
I did come up with a good angle for defeating the villain, so I’ll probably be scrapping most of the last 2,000 words and focusing the final showdown.
UPDATE: 10/2015 – It took me two years to fix the ending of this book – partially due to other projects and starting grad school. I think waiting a few more days would have been worth
2. The flu – On one hand, it gave me more of an excuse to sit in front of the computer. On the other hand, it is a lot harder to write intelligently when your brain feels like it is about to ooze out of your head.
3. Planning – I had a plan. I tossed it out the window and formed a new plan by the seat of my pants. Maybe, deep down, I just like writing that way – which means I should start reinforcing my pants.
4. Socializing – I hoped NaNoWriMo would allow me to meet more fellow writers and expand my social-media-circle. Perhaps if I had been more active on Twitter and the forums, and knew of/attended local events, this might improve.
Maybe I’m spoiled because I’ve already built a solid network here on WordPress, have a great writer’s group, and supportive friends on Facebook.
I think the paradox is that we want to support each other through NaNoWriMo, but we also want to hunker down and get our story told.
5. Temporary Burn Out – Even as I finished the last words, I found myself tired of writing. I’m still recovering a bit from forcing myself to finish. Luckily, I’m doing some research for another story, so that’s allowing me to re-fill my creative-o-meter.
Questions – Things I’m Still Figuring Out
1. Would I have written an entire novella in the month of November without NaNoWriMo?
I don’t know. I can write a lot when the muse strikes, but I don’t know if I would have finished in 30 days without the fire of NaNoWriMo.
2. Would I do it again?
I’m still on the fence. On one hand, now I’ve had the experience – and it was pretty good. It was challenging, but not unreasonable. On the other hand, next year I plan on being a grad student. I will also need to work to eat and pay rent. That may cut into writing time. I also plan on not getting as sick. I’ll have to think about it.
For you, readers:
- What topics do you enjoy reading here at the L. Palmer Chronicles? Do you want more updates on current my writing projects?
- Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?
- Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo next year?
Thanks again for everyone’s support, and congratulations once again to everyone who participated and/or won NaNoWriMo!
Side Note: Through Twitter, I discovered this: The Doctors as dinosaurs. Everything is better with a dinosaur.